Photo above: Joe Durso (background) walks into the room with his arms up in a sign of victory before he is inducted into the USHA Hall Of Fame.
Photo above: USHA Hall of Fame inductee Joe Durso got interrupted several times by cameramen using the flash too close to him.
Photo above: The audience was treated to exhibitions games with the small and big ball. All exhibition games were refereed by Paul Angel.
Photo above: When Joe Durso speaks, the audience listens as he goes back in time through his handball journey.
Joe Durso shows off his handball canvas portrait while posing with Tyree Bastidas at the Brooklyn - Queens Elks Lodge after his induction into the USHA Hall Of Fame.
NYC may not be Hollywood, but when it comes to celebrate, we rule. Handball players came to celebrate the USHA Hall Of Fame induction of Joe Durso on February 18.
Representatives of the 1-Wall Committee; William Polanco and Alithia Mendez were present to Honor 1-wall king Joe Durso, while Hall Of Fame players, ex-teammates, fans and friends filled up the reception room.
Dan Flickstein was the keynote speaker for this special ceremony.
How do you measure success for a handball player? By rule of thumb success is measured by the amount of titles amassed during a player’s handball career and that is how Joe Durso got to be the King of 1-wall (singles).
Joe Durso captured nine national titles, a feat no one has ever been able to accomplish.
Hall Of Fame player, Albert Apuzzi, attended the ceremony for the man who partnered with him to win at least six national doubles titles. Some of the great 1-wall players also showed up to the event and most of them had potential handball resumes to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame: Charlie Danilczyk, Mark Levine, Dan Maroney, and Dori Ten. They were all there to support the sport they played and loved the most; handball.
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Above: Jurell and Tyree Bastidas next to Charlie Shanks and Raul Retian
Above: Jurell Bastidas putting the ball at the right angle to finish the rally as the rest of the players watch.
Above: Players and fans enjoy a weekend of high caliber handball skills.
Above from Left: Mike Schneider and Charlie Shanks pose during a break.
Above: Charlie Shanks gets ready to put the ball to rest during match against Mike Schneider.
From left: P. Williams' young players; J. Borbon, J. Vazquez, S. Hossain, P. Zuligur and R. Lee.
The open championship match that everyone was waiting to see between Charlie Shanks and Tyree Bastidas never materialized and no player slammed in the open this year. Instead, Shanks faced Schneider in the singles to take the title, while team Bastidas defeated team Shanks/Retian in the doubles.
The newly renovated sport facility was a big surprise to many people, who were met with better services and a better hospitality. The banquet on Saturday night also was upgraded to reflect the high reputation the tournament has been carrying for more than 30 years.
As in the past, Paul Williams brought 1-wall young players to expose them to the 4-wall game as he did at the Long Island Open back in January. His players attended the banquet on Saturday nigh and came back to play the finals on Sunday morning.
Above: Tyree Bastidas poses with handball Legend Charlie Danilczyk.
Everybody knows Charlie Danilczyk is one of the few players around who had played in the first USHA National 1-, and 3-wall championships. He has won national titles and has been a runner-up in several occasions. He had earned other titles against the best handball players of his era.
He also teamed up with his brother Joe, a Hall of Famer, to reach the championship match.
Fans occasionally ask: why the USHA Hall Of Fame ignores him while inducting other players? The Hall might shake its head and chuckle. The Hall may not happen, but that doesn’t mean Mr. Danilczyk didn’t matter, or didn’t accomplish too much. Mr. Danilczyk isn’t a Hall of Famer, but he made a lot of people happy out there, and made a lot of moments brighter for players and fans. At the end of the game, that’s a good scorecard.
Above: College students are watching and enjoying the action of the LIO.
Above: Jurell Bastidas, on the floor, puts and end to the rally.
Above: Dori Ten in the front gets ready to close the game in match against Sandy Ng.
Above: Cesar Sala returns the ball in semi finals against Tyree Bastidas.
Above: Sandy Ng (blue uniform) smacks the ball to the left side corner against Danielle Daskalakis.
Above: Jurell Bastidas re-killing the ball at the front against B. O'Donnell.
Upset of the tournament:
Mike Angley defeated defending champion Danny Vera in the 50+
The tournament drew close to 100 players.
The 4-wall tournament was played with the small and the big ball.
The men and women’s open champions Sandy and Tyree, were the youngest players to be crowned at the same time.
Dori Ten is the first woman to capture the open title with the big ball.
Danielle Daskalakis is the only female player to have reached the finals with the small and big ball.
Hillcrest High School from Queens was the only school to send male and female players to compete.
Women participation at the 1-wall tournaments has increased dramatically in the past decade because it is being heavily promoted through the following events.
1- More high school players are being encouraged to play at the PSAL (Public Schools Amateur League).
2- The Annual High School Invitational often attracts new young women into the game.
3- The Annual High School Spring Meet run by Paul Williams always draws more 1-wall young girls.
Looking back at the draws in the past, it is obvious that current female participation has peaked in all women’s divisions. This year more women will compete to be considered to go to the World Handball Championships to be held in Ireland on October 11-21. They will also have more opportunities to go to the Worlds as the small and the big balls will be used.
“This will be my first time playing at the Worlds in Ireland”